Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of The Plot, a thriller with its roots in the literary world. Unfortunately I didn’t love this book, but you can’t love everything you read!
Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written–let alone published–anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then… he hears the plot.
Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that–a story that absolutely needs to be told.
In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.
As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?
On Good Reads, this book is referred to as “breathtakingly suspenseful”, and I’m afraid I just have to disagree. I found it predictable. Hugely predictable, to the point I found it dull. I kept reading, hoping there would be a twist and the suspense would kick in, but it just didn’t.
The irony being here, of course, that this is supposed to be a one of a kind, brilliant plot. For me, it was just lacking.
What I will say is that if you enjoy character driven books, then you may find something you’re looking for in this. A large part of the story revolves around Jacob’s character and how it changes as his life does, for good and for bad, and how he handles everything that is being thrown at him. He’s not happy when he is waiting for success, yet he’s also not happy when he’s riding the success wave, and leads to the question – is success really all we want in life? This side of the story I did enjoy as it simply makes you question whether some people will ever be happy with their lot in life.
Aside from that however, I found this sadly lacking. At times it felt pretentious, and again while this was largely due to the character driven narrative, it didn’t make it particularly enjoyable to read throughout. The flip side to this lingustic overkill was the plot itself, where, although there were no holes, there simply wasn’t anything surprising.
I was pushed in the direction of this book after enjoying The Appeal and True Crime Story, but unfortunately I wouldn’t put it in the bracket of either of those. You’re never going to love everything you read, and I hope there are others out there that enjoy this one more than me; sadly it won’t be one I’m recommending when asked however.
Thanks for stopping by today. Have you read The Plot? Is it on your TBR? Do you agree with me? Regardless, I’d love to know!